Though his birthday is 2 days away my Gentle Readers, today belongs to Tennessee Williams. His highly successful and Pulitzer Prize winning play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opened on this day in 1955 in New York City.
Tennessee Williams was a child of an abusive traveling salesman and an overly controlling mother. It is believed he used his family, especially his mother and beloved sister Rose, as the basis for characters in multiple works.
Williams, though alcoholism and drug use eventually took his life, was a picture of overcoming obstacles in order to succeed. Though he was pulled from school to work for his demanding and demeaning father, Williams would return to school, eventually earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from University of Iowa in 1938. He took great care of his mentally ill sister Rose, especially after her disastrous lobotomy administered as a cure for her schizophrenia.
In Williams we learn that you can overcome any obstacle, but beware the demons you allow entry into your heart. Williams went from being a favored punching bag of his father, to a very successful playwright. It is unfortunate that his later years would be claimed by alcohol and drugs.
Seek to overcome the doubts, naysayers, and those holding you back from your dreams my Gentle Readers. Just take care that you do not fall victim to what you were trying to overcome. Until next time. Live well, write well, be well.
Today my Gentle Readers, we learn a lesson from the great French playwright and novelist, Honoré de Balzac. It was on this day in 1842 that Balzac’s play Les Ressources de Quinola opened to an empty house due to a failed publicity stunt. It seems that in his genius, Balzac told people opening night was sold out in order to create buzz about the performance. Due to this, all of his fans stayed home.
I can only imagine the shame and embarrassment Balzac must have felt when the curtain went up on what should have been a momentous night for him. Although, from what I have read of his many failed business ventures, maybe he was used to that kind of thing. Can any of you imagine what it must have been like to go through this? Thinking you had a perfect marketing ploy for it to completely blow up in your face?
I think this is how a lot of us feel when we stake out on a creative adventure. I know this feeling that I would “open to an empty house” is part of why I took so long to begin sharing my work with the world. While a few of my endeavors have fallen flat, there has been some very positive reviews of my work as well. Finding strength in the constructive criticism seems to be the hardest part of fighting off doubt.
I vote we take a page out of Balzac’s book my Gentle Readers and go for it all. Don’t let the naysayers or past failures stop you from trying new things or chasing your dreams. Because, in the end, what are we left with but our memories and experiences? Until next time. Live well, write well, be well.